Ringship 1701

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by Psion, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    Reading through the recent diversions in the "Design the next Enterprise" thread and thinking about the beautiful models made of Matt Jefferies' ideas for a starship with ring-shaped warp drive, I started wondering what a ringship NCC-1701 would look like.

    So I fired up Blender 2.57 and started doing some volume studies -- simple 3D sketches to get a feel for the ship.

    [​IMG]

    Now, obviously, this is extremely crude. The shapes are really very rough and if I continue this project, I'll start over from scratch.

    This is a simple box-extrusion model and I made several decisions early on about what it should look like. First, the pylon connecting the primary hull to the secondary hull should "continue" on through the secondary hull to form the mount for the ring. Second, I decided to eliminate the bulge on the lower part of the primary hull and move the pylon forward, widening it considerably and assuming some of the equipment (sensors, phasers, torpedo launchers, and some labs) from the primary hull are now housed in the pylon.

    Third, and this is the part I kept having trouble with ... the diameter of the primary hull should be less than the diameter of the ring. As i continued to nudge vertices around, I kept having trouble with this rule. The ship just didn't look right when I did that. As you can see, this remains an unresolved issue.

    This ship is probably the product of a reality where the Vulcans were happy to share their warp drive technology with humans, giving Henry Archer an opportunity to design warp-ships much more capable than he did in the timeline shown in Enterprise. I imagine it's a bit larger than the original 1701, but not as big as that shown in the 2009 movie. It isn't as streamlined as the original design, but I think t has a design elegance all its own and it might be worth working on this some more when I get spare time.
     
  2. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Why? Why must it be less? I mean... as far as I know, there's no "canon" or "real science" reason that this must be the case, is there? There's only the fact that we've never seen anything otherwise... or rather, have never seen anything otherwise YET.

    Make the saucer LARGER than the ring... by the "golden ratio" (going back to that). Move it a bit further forward if it interferes. Keep the saucer centered on the ring. Make the ring's length 1/"the golden ratio" of it's outside diameter.

    I'd be interested to see how that looks. Just my 2cents, though... take it or leave it.
     
  3. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Don't limit yourself to the "golden ratio", just make it look good.
     
  4. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Hey, it's just a suggestion... nobody's suggesting being "tied" to a formula. I'm just thinking that, if he did what I suggested, it would look "right" to him (and to me). But hey, I could be wrong...

    It can't hurt to TRY when you're "sandboxing," can it?
     
  5. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    Terrific comments. Sojourner, I think in fairness to Cary, the pursuit of the Golden Ratio is key to making it look good. But I'm just not sure how to apply it to starship design. Messing around with vertices in Blender is the closest I seem to be able to get.

    Cary, I keep gravitating to a saucer that's bigger than the ring, but I don't want to because, in my mind, that ring defines an outer diameter for a warp field. But when i make it that way, it just looks wrong. Maybe I'm intuiting the Golden Ratio here, but, like I said, I don't know how to actually apply it consciously to ship design.

    EDIT TO ADD:

    Alright, screw limit number 3. Cary and Sojourner are right. And I can justify things by assuming the warp coils in the ring make a double-lobed warp field that flares outward as it moves away from the ring -- allowing bigger shapes where necessary.
     
  6. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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  7. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    I'm not a blender expert, but doesn't Blender allow for "parenting" and for revolved surfaces and the like? I'm pretty sure it does...

    So,the "ring" and the "saucer" would just be sketched curves, rotated around a coordinate system. The secondary hull might need to be "sculpted" but the dish and the ring can be revolutions, can't they?

    And if you do that, and if you make those as separate features, or even separate components in an assembly "scene"... you ought to be able to relocate them and scale them at ease.

    Any Blender experts here want to give better pointers on this? I know how to do this with Maya or Lightwave, or with pretty much any CAD program... but I've barely toyed with Blender.
    Sounds like a good plan!
     
  8. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    Oh, it's not the functions in Blender that I'm having trouble with. I've been using that program since around 2000 and frequently jump in to help folks with the software. It's an issue of how to apply the Golden Ratio to a starship's shape that I can't get my head around. Anyway, I worked up a second model with better geometry and scaled the components a bit better:

    [​IMG]

    Crap.

    I thought I had an original idea here. That's why I hate mucking about with Trek these days, the mine has been heavily played out. I'm not gonna walk down a path already trodden, I'd rather go where no man has gone before.

    Thanks for the contributions, guys. It made for a diverting ... evening. Now I think I'm going to wander off and find my scotch.

    :bolian:
     
  9. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Hehe, there are no original ideas, just original takes on old ideas. Don't let Atolm's version stop you. Heck, here's the direction I took with it.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Santaman

    Santaman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Very interesting design Psion. :cool::bolian:

    Hmm, if you want to support the ring topside too then a pylon dreadnought style coming from the back of the saucer would do the trick.
     
  11. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

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    No, it looks good. Your design has a different proportionality to it. I really like how the neck appears to run through the bottom of the secondary hull to connect with the ring.

    This could be a very graceful design.
     
  12. TrekkieMonster

    TrekkieMonster Commodore Premium Member

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    I've always thought this would be an interesting idea, and I like your concept here, especially how the "neck" seems to extend through the hull to connect to the ring; very "pleasing" to the eye somehow.

    I am no artist (and that's an understatement), but some years ago I was doodling around with this kind of idea, and stumbled upon the fact that making the "enginering" in the shape of an ellipse, rather than a circle, actually lent an aesthetically more pleasing aspect to the overall layout (to my eye, at least.) It did sort of lower the "center" line/foci so that the relative positions were somewhat more reminiscent to the nacelle placement of a Galaxy Class ship (i.e., somewhat below the saucer instead of above), but it was interesting.

    I know you're going for the "ring", but I just thought I'd throw that out there in case you were interested in playing around with different variations on the theme.

    In any event, I like where you're going with this.

    Oh, and Sojouner, I've always liked that design of yours. :bolian:
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  13. Patrickivan

    Patrickivan Fleet Captain Newbie

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    When I first saw the thread title, I rolled my eyes. But I instantly liked where you were going with this, completely surprising myself.

    Thanks! I can't wait to see this fleshed out fully!
     
  14. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    Your design looks much better now. But there's still something that "feels wrong." I think that the length of the "ring" section needs to be longer. You can play with design elements and ratios as much as you like, but I'm pretty well convinced that this is another of those "it'll look best with the 'golden ratio' between the diameter and the length" things.

    That value is 1.61803399(and on.. it's an irrational number)

    So... if that ring diameter is, say, 100m... the length of the ring segment would be 100/1.61803399, or about 60m.

    If that feels "wrong," to you, try 40m. But I can say, right now, that the only element of this that feels "wrong" to me is the shortness of that ring section.

    If you like, you can make it two rings... like the Jefferies ringship (fyi, his ringship's ring-length-to-diameter ratio is, not surprisingly, similar to what we're discussing here)

    Just a suggestion... but if you do that, I think it will work beautifully. :)

    Also... I agree with the idea that it's a common pylon... the neck (and more significantly, the structural members between the primary hull and the secondary hull) passes directly through, and also serves to connect the ring system. That's the trick... make sure that if you do an internal layout, treat those structural members as the "ship's keel."
     
  15. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Google up some photos of the models at this year's Wonderfest. You might be able to find a thread at StarhipModeler or HobbyTalk. Someone built this concept using the PL 1/1000 model. Looks pretty nifty!
     
  16. Clawhammer

    Clawhammer Commander Red Shirt

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    Last image looks good!
    I would rescale the saucer, make it 80% of its current size.:)
     
  17. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
  18. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
  19. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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  20. Psion

    Psion Commodore Commodore

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    Yikes!

    I walked away thinking of this as a dead experiment and came back to find surprising interest. Well, that's cool! With little new Trek to watch these days, I find myself increasingly interested in playing lots of "what if" games with Trek and messing with alternate interpretations of the original.

    Fortunately, it looks like my five-year-old drank all my scotch last night, so rather than wallow in inebriated misery, I continued thinking about this and made a few more changes.

    Let me respond to some posts first, though:

    Sojourner, what a beautiful freighter! I'm impressed that SketchUp can do that kind of work. Wait. Why am I thinking that's SketchUp? What software did you use? Anyway, your point about no original ideas is well taken, but magyareagle's interpretation of Atolm's ship looked like a successful exploration of the concept. That took a lot of wind out of my sails, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized there was still room for me to play around and put my own spin on the concept. Plus ... there are things about the magyareagle/Atolm look that I don't like. They chose to put the secondary hull along the center of the ring's axis, for example, and that means the impulse engines on the saucer would be thrusting off-axis and lead to all kinds of instabilities. My saucer, I'll say with puffed-up pride, is aligned with the ring's axis.

    Santaman, I have to keep resisting that temptation. One of the weird distinctions of the Jefferies ringship is that there's only one connection to the ring. I admit, it'd look a lot more balanced if I did that, but the inspiration for this project wasn't balanced. The other temptation I'm resisting is to use pylons similar to the original NCC-1701's nacelle pylons to connect the ring. I might yet yield to that one, but I want to bang the current concept around a little more.

    YARN, thank you! And that's what I'm most hopeful about ... the idea that the neck is the ship's keel and it runs almost completely through the ship, holding it together structurally. But will this design ever look graceful? I doubt it, but that's why I do volume studies ... to see if I can find a pleasing combination of shapes and proportions. Once I do, then I start over from scratch building a proper mesh that incorporates what I've learned. Sometimes I sketch on paper, but doing sketches in 3D like this avoids some of the errors I run into when I do it on paper.

    TrekkieMonster, thanks! I have squashed the ring a few times. And it does look better, but right now I've got some "rules" I'm trying to stick to on this design, and one of them is that the warp field must be generated by a ring with a circular cross-section, not elliptical. Maybe the Next Generation version will go elliptical!

    Patrickivan, thank you! I do lots of these kinds of "doodles" and usually don't think there's anything worth sharing. This one struck me as having possibilities ... and I also thought it was a lot more original than it really was when I started. *sigh*

    Cary, now I think I see how you mean to apply the ratio. I kept thinking you meant component-to-component. That is, making sure the secondary hull had some Golden Ratio relationship with the primary hull. I'll give your suggestions a try and post the results later tonight.

    The only potential downfall I see to making the ring longer is that the ship looks very stubby in profile already, and I expect making the ring longer will make matters worse. The original 1701 had nice, long, thin warp nacelles to make the shape pleasing. I've tried to compensate here by lengthening the secondary hull.

    And I figured you'd like the common pylon/keel idea. I got that from you when you were working on your model of the Enterprise. That made a huge amount of sense to me. By the way, that was a wonderful thread. I'm sorry about how it and your other contributions around here ended, but glad to see you back. I don't always agree with you, but I know to at least stop and think before I argue with you.

    Forbin, [winces before clicking the links] oh no! That refit ship is even closer to my idea. You guys aren't gonna quit beating me over the head with how totally unoriginal my idea was, are you? :lol: The TNG one looks terribly off-axis and stubby, but the refit actually looks good. And note how the ring looks like it trails the ship. I think my misconception is that I've got the ring surrounding the ship, with a dual-lobed warp field encapsulating it. Putting the ring behind the ship then implies some sort of cardioid-shaped field instead that reaches ahead of the ring. Maybe I've been watching too much Star Trek: Enterprise with their Vulcan ringships and I've been contaminated ...

    Clawhammer, thanks! But I think there are a couple cues throwing you off. The first is perspective making the primary hull look bigger than it is in relation to the rest of the ship. The second is how narrow I made the secondary hull. Let me illustrate ....

    So, like I said, I continued to work on the model last night. I added a little more detail to the dorsal pylon to see if my idea of using it to replace the bulge on the bottom of the primary hull would work, and I made changes to the secondary hull. Again, I added more details because sometimes one's eye is expecting some visual cues. I don't want to add too much to this model because that makes adjusting shapes increasingly difficult and it's only a study model -- it won't be the finished ship!

    [​IMG]

    Now why eliminate the bulge on the bottom? Because I'm thinking the saucer separates and lands more often than it did in the original show. When there's a need to take on a lot of supplies from a planet's surface, or there's a diplomatic need to make a dramatic entrance, a saucer the size of an aircraft carrier descends out of the skies a little like the one in the original "Day the Earth Stood Still". The little rim attached to the dorsal pylon is actually part of the pylon and works to give the saucer a firm place to attach.

    [​IMG]

    Don't mind the little holes in the saucer ... they're to let wires poke through for grain-of-wheat bulbs.